For the good of Fort Pilar PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 20 October 2014 00:00

Last Tuesday, Pep Talk’s, “Ruining the ruins of Fort Pilar,” shared the frustrations of Facebook netizens about the new “white look” of the inside walls of our historic Fort Pilar, and had joined the call to the National Museum to stop the on-going construction.

The newly painted Fort Pilar walls look, duh, like walls of a prison colony or worse a mental hospital as netizens described it. Local newspapers and TV news also picked up the raging issue last Monday.   The new immaculate appearance took away the rustic and century old grandiose of Fort Pilar is the general sentiment.

Hence, Pep Talk supported the call of City Councilor and Chairman on Tourism VP Elago to ask the National Museum, in-charge of the restoration and renovation, to explain why. He learned that all the inside walls of Fort Pilar will be plastered with cement and will be painted white all over. There were no prior coordination and explanation why it was being done this way, he lambasted.

Good thing, at the same time, Councilor VP was able to contact immediately Mr. Henares, president of the Heritage Conservation Society of the Philippines, to invite Jeremy Barns, Executive Director of National Museum to come to Zamboanga City and explain.

I learned Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco visited Fort Pilar too and had asked her office to make an inquiry and investigate this matter. She confirmed that Barns will indeed arrived today and personally explained to Zamboangueños what is going on inside of Fort Pilar.

Since I was in nearby Paseo del Mar last Tuesday, I slipped to Fort Pilar and made my own inquiry as to what happened and “why.” National Museum chose preservation and conservation over aesthetic value is the answer Pep Talk got. Fort Pilar needs to be saved.  This is for her own good, I learned.

My reliable Fort Pilar insider source explained that the original century-old red bricks of the outer walls of Fort Pilar are starting to pulverize due to outside uncontrollable weather factors like strong rain, wind, and heat of the sun. Add to that birds and insects nesting in the walls. I was shown the current state of the damaged red bricks of the outside walls. Indeed, it can be easily crushed with our fingers.

If these red bricks will not be covered with “palentada,” soon all the red bricks will be gone, my source lamented.  And in time, the whole walls of Fort Pilar will crumble down.

The old and only standing wall facing the entrance gate is no more.  My source told Pep Talk that it is in the state of collapsing and can be very dangerous someday. A strong earthquake can bring it down. What used to be a butterfly and plant garden is now a 2-story expanded museum. It will house a marine life exhibit and an old big boat will be hanged inside.

My source asserted that the inside walls of Fort Pilar are still preserved and were only cleaned. The red bricks of the outside walls were not also removed and only covered as shown to me. I went inside the edifice to see it for myself.

Pep Talk understands the disgusts expressed by FB netizens when this front wall of the museum was renovated. The old musty red wall was a favorite picture background of museum visitors. If you had taken a picture in this spot, it will now be part of your treasured memory of the fort .

Pep Talk left Fort Pilar enlightened and I am sharing this to Pep Talk readers. Later today, we will know the official side of Barns.This is the fact - Fort Pilar is under the jurisdiction of the National Museum, a national government office, and, in reality, our local government has nothing to do with its administration and management.

James 1:19 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

By: Dante Corteza